tower shipping

zealandic
19th October 2007, 17:16
iv just been reading about the crescent shipping coasters.. brings back great memories...i sailed on 3 tower ships ..tower venture...tower conquest..tower helen...they were great ships ..had drinks with the crescent lads all round the coast and near continent... they were roughly 200 tons..no derricks just one hatch..easy to work..and only had the skipper..mate... 3rd hand and 4th hand...we used to get a percentage of the cargo as pay...anyone else sailed these ships ?? often wonder what happened to them...z forgot to mention this would have been 68 to 70

cboots
20th October 2007, 00:39
Known as "share boats" I seem to recall and required membership of the TGWU, as opposed to NUS or MNAOA. I never sailed under that system myself and would be interested to hear of any recollections of those who did.
CBoots

zealandic
20th October 2007, 09:02
hi cboots..i was 15 and straight out of school..as i recall there wasnt a union to join at that time.. but they werent related to the shipping federation in anyway..basically anyone could get a job 3rd and 4th hand that is..the skippers obviously had to have a home trade masters cert. not sure what the mate had to have.. i remember one mate was an ab who had been kicked off the pool..we had to do 5 on 5 off at sea so this guy was in charge with no certificates...scary when i look back..i was always seasick...and was very happy when i joined my first deep sea ship...z

cboots
21st October 2007, 00:49
Not sure of your vintage but once upon a time you would not have required certification even to be master of a small coaster; that all changed, not sure the exact date, some time in the seventies I think. I believe that the money could be quite good, provided the cargoes kept coming of course.
CBoots

Bill Davies
21st October 2007, 09:53
Not sure of your vintage but once upon a time you would not have required certification even to be master of a small coaster; that all changed, not sure the exact date, some time in the seventies I think. I believe that the money could be quite good, provided the cargoes kept coming of course.
CBoots

Have no experience of coasting but from memory Masters and Mates of these ships rarely had certification. Home Trade Certificates were required on HT passenger ships. Met a few Masters from Arklow in the late 50s/early 60s and they had no qualifications at all except possibly the most important. They were all excellent seamen.

zealandic
22nd October 2007, 07:49
thanks for info..looking back i would say they didnt have tickets...scary..

Bill Davies
22nd October 2007, 09:19
thanks for info..looking back i would say they didnt have tickets...scary..

Not really Zealandic, when you stop and think what passes for a certificate in the last 5/10 years!

cboots
23rd October 2007, 03:00
I am dredging my memory here somewhat but I believe that Tower Shipping was one of those companies that get set up to take advantage of some government scheme to encourage UK shipping in one way or another; in this instance obviously coastal shipping. When the scheme expired they sold up and shut down. Perhaps a more knowledgeable member than I can fill in the details for us.
CBoots

Pongopat
12th November 2007, 17:53
Bill Davies wrote

They were all excellent seamen.

well said Bill I second that, a lot of us were taught by those fellows, in the late 70s all masters and mates on hote Trade ships had to be certificated therefore they had to prove to the DTI or Board of Trade that they had enough seatime in the capacity that they were applying for and then they were issued with a Certificate of Service and this all changed again upon the introduction of STCW whereas all certificate of service Holders had to do the full monty ie all the Courses, GMDSS, and upon succsesfull completion of this were you eligable to go to the MCA and sit an Oral Exam then on passing you are awarded your certificate of competence..
I must admit that most FG Masters I have sailed with on small coasters did not seem too comfortable with the job especially when it came to working the inland waterway network of europe and they did,nt seem to stay long..

stan mayes
3rd October 2009, 22:34
The Skippers of coastal sailing barges had no certificates.
I was in a 300 tonner of Goldsmith's Grays - Celtic - and we traded as far North as the Humber and down Channel to Cornwall.
Crewed by a Skipper and Mate only!!
Very hard work during wintertime
Stan

ray bloomfield
3rd October 2009, 22:49
Stan'
I had the old Celtic in her later days on the grain trade from Tilbury to Rochford and Ipswich, her twin Kelvins were abugger to start but once going would run for ever, 44hp & 66hp.
Certs of service came in in '82 I believe, I never had one at all before that like many others, so progress then was made by word of mouth.

ray bloomfield
3rd October 2009, 22:52
Tower Shipping = tower power

stan mayes
4th October 2009, 00:03
Many thanks for that Ray.
Any idea where she is now?
I saw her some years ago at Dolphin Barge Museum and had a chat with her owner Les George.
I have recently heard that when the museum was destroyed (by vandals?) Les George went into a care home and Celtic was towed to Queenborough.
Another friend has told me that is a rumour

ray bloomfield
4th October 2009, 00:33
At the beginning of Sept I was told she was undergoing restoration at Sittingbourne

christy
31st October 2009, 00:54
iv just been reading about the crescent shipping coasters.. brings back great memories...i sailed on 3 tower ships ..tower venture...tower conquest..tower helen...they were great ships ..had drinks with the crescent lads all round the coast and near continent... they were roughly 200 tons..no derricks just one hatch..easy to work..and only had the skipper..mate... 3rd hand and 4th hand...we used to get a percentage of the cargo as pay...anyone else sailed these ships ?? often wonder what happened to them...z forgot to mention this would have been 68 to 70

I think the ships were designed to take advantage that ships under 200gross tons did not require pilotage, and possibly some Government tax(?) scheme.
They usually had Rolls Royce engines, but I seem to remember that either the engines, or the exhaust system (causing fires), gave trouble. I think most of then were built by Clelands, or the Malta Dry Dock Co.
Maybe it is time to have a similar sort of coaster built to stimulate British Shipbuilding-but is there any where left to build them???